Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Mussel Soup with Watercress

A Mussel Soup with Watercress

Start with the preparation of Mussels Mariniere and use ½ of the steaming liquid and ½ of the mussels for this soup.

½ cup small-dice onion

½ cup small-dice fennel

½ cup small-dice celery

½ cup small-dice leeks with green part

1 sprig of Italian parsley


Steaming Liquid

2 lb Mussels

2 bunches watercress, stems discarded, washed and roughly chopped

½ Cup Heavy Cream

3 cloves of garlic


Cayenne pepper

Fresh ground pepper

1-2 cups of chicken stock

Remove mussel meat from shells after steaming them in accordance with the Mussels Mariniere recipe. Set mussels aside, covered. In a medium saucepan, sweat 1 tablespoon of butter with onions, fennel, garlic, celery, parsley and leeks for 7-10 minutes. Pour in reserved mussel broth and chicken stock. Lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in watercress and remove the pot from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Transfer soup to the blender. Blend the soup until it is purred and then push it through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Just before serving add the cream to the soup and finish with another 2 tablespoons of butter. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with some mussels.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


By Kim Bryden

Starting November 5, 2009, Capital Cooking with Lauren DeSantis will be airing on Colours TV Network. It will air every Thursday starting with the upcoming Asian Fusion episode airing at 2:00-2:30 p.m. Find all of the schedule at:

CoLours offers multi-cultural and multi-ethnic programming highlighting educational and cultural issues of African, Asian, Latin, and Native Americans. For further information visit their website at Watch Capital Cooking on the Dish Network channels 9396 and 9407. CoLours is currently available on cable from the following carriers: Time Warner, Comcast, Insight, NCTC and Cox .

Join Lauren and the chefs from Ping by Charlie Chiang’s while they make Pot Au Feu, Rosemary Red Pepper Chicken and Shiny Slippery Shrimp. This innovative cuisine will highlight the fusion of American tastes and local ingredients with the exotic, pleasing flavors of Asia.

Within the upcoming weeks of November, tune into episodes Flavors of the Mediterranean with head chef from Cashion’s Eat Place, Taste of Morocco and Mexican Fiesta. Watch each episode and learn from the pros how to make delectable food right in your home. Lauren makes recipes fun and easy to prepare for anyone with any level of cooking.

For more information about this episode or the Capital Cooking series, please contact Lauren DeSantis at

Photo by Emily Clack

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: Church Lounge, Tribeca Grand Hotel

It took me a while to post about the Tribeca Grand Hotel because of the craziness with trade shows, but Church Lounge is a fun drink spot and the food is delicious.

Pete really liked the mini-burgers.

We didn't know that the Tribeca Grand was kind of a "scene," until we went to the rest room and had to fight to get back to our table. When it gets to be around 11 p.m., the place gets packed. The servers aren't the friendliest, but the food was really good.
I recommend:

Goat Cheese Ravioli
pine-nut butter, lemon, parmesan & sage

Short Rib Empanadas
horseradish crème fraîche

Church Lounge, Tribeca Grand Hotel on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 26, 2009

Recipe: Mussels (Moules) Mariniere

Week 14: Shellfish

Mussels (Moules) Mariniere

This week I couldn’t make the Tuesday class so I went to Thursday with Chef Brian Patterson. This recipe allows the flavor of the mussels to shine. When preparing mussels, toss any that don’t close when squeezed. Serve this dish in large bowls to make room for the broth.


½ cup small-dice onion

½ cup small-dice fennel

½ cup small-dice celery

½ cup small-dice leeks

½ cup small-dice shallots

1 cup of white wine or vermouth

4 lbs of mussels, washed well and beards removed (if any)

1 bay leaf

3 cloves of garlic

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Fresh ground pepper

In a large saucepan, sweat some white wine, celery, fennel, onion, bay leaf, leeks, garlic, thyme, shallots and pepper for about 5-10 minutes. Then add mussels all at once and cover to steam them. Should only take 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and strain mussels over a colander over a bowl to collect the liquid. (reserve ½ of steaming liquid for soup)


½ of Steaming liquid




Tomato concasse (recipe below)



Cayenne pepper

Return broth to the pot on medium high heat. Add cream and other ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Pour over mussels and serve immediately.

Tomato Concasse

Concasse is the French word for food that has been cut into large pieces.

  • Tomatoes (peeled, seeded (with juice strained and reserved), roughly chopped, about 2-3 C)
  • Onion (1/2 a large onion, diced)
  • Garlic (2-3 cloves, minced)
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato Paste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Basil (couple leaves, chiffonade)

Sweat onions in olive oil for 8-10 minutes. * You could alternatively use shallots. Stir in tomatoes and garlic, and continue to cook, low and slow. Towards the end of cooking, add a bit of tomato paste to bring additional richness to the sauce. Adjust the consistency with the reserved tomato juice and taste it for seasoning. At the very end, add a couple leaves of basil chiffonade.